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Some fire restrictions start as weather warms

Fireworks against the night sky.
Apiruk Jintana
Adobe Stock
Fireworks will go on sale soon — but don't set them off yet.

A heat wave is in the forecast, and with it, warnings about increasing wildfire danger. But if you’re glad for some summertime temperatures and want to celebrate, remember, fireworks remain illegal until July.

There are only a few dozen hours each year in Utah when it’s legal for non-professionals to shoot off fireworks, and the next opportunity starts at 11 a.m. July 2.

Legal discharge days are all around holidays: July 4, Pioneer Day at the end of July, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year’s at the end of January. However, fireworks can go on sale later this month through the end of July.

Other fire-related restrictions are in place, as well. After June 1, open burning of brush and other items now requires a permit in unincorporated parts of the county and is banned inside city limits.

As of Wednesday, neither Wasatch County nor Summit County had imposed other fire restrictions as they have in previous years like banning open burning and fireworks.

Summit County Manager Tom Fisher said fire conditions appear to be good after May storms.

“You know, everybody has heard the word drought a lot. And so certainly that has an impact," Fisher told KPCW. "Our early moisture this spring has helped out quite a bit from the standpoint of making things less flammable, but it grows a lot of stuff at the same time. So it probably does not portend as well for our main fire season, which tends to come in July and August and September.”

Wasatch County Interim Fire Chief Eric Hales said he doesn’t anticipate imposing fire restrictions anytime soon. But he said that calculus can change quickly with fluctuations in weather and fuel moistures, and the prevalence of fires.

Those county-imposed restrictions would not apply to fires on properties that have improved fire pits near a source of running water. Summit County Communications Director Derek Siddoway said improved pits generally involve metal fire rings and aren’t merely circles of rocks.

According to a state fire agency, as of Wednesday, there have been 177 wildfires this year, with 84% of them started by humans.

Alexander joined KPCW in 2021 after two years reporting on Summit County for The Park Record. While there, he won many awards for covering issues ranging from school curriculum to East Side legacy agriculture operations to land-use disputes. He arrived in Utah by way of Madison, Wisconsin, and western Massachusetts, with stints living in other areas across the country and world. When not attending a public meeting or trying to figure out what a PID is, Alexander enjoys skiing, reading and watching the Celtics.